New asteroid discovered with help of Calvin College

8:48 AM, Jan 18, 2008   |    comments
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Grand Rapids - Light years away, the wonders of our universe are a bit more down to earth with high powered telescopes. Perched on the Calvin College science building, Professor Larry Molnar shows us the telescope that helped college with its first major discovery. "A student, Andrew Vanden Huevel used it to discover an asteroid. The first asteroid to be discovered in Grand Rapids and the first asteroid discovered by any Calvin student." Since the discovery in 2003, Professor Molar's students found 167 asteroids. Since his 2003 discovery Andrew Vanden Huevel became a high school science teacher, and the star gazing continues. "I was kind of iffy about it, but excited to do it," said student Kyle Simpson. “It's kind of like Where's Waldo?" added classmate Tim Pastika. The students found yet another asteroid. "More than 99.99% of asteroids are discovered by professionals, so it's certainly a rarity for high school students to make this discovery," said Vanden Huevel. Especially when the students are in Racine, Wisconsin and the telescope that took the pictures is in New Mexico. The telescope in New Mexico is operated remotely by students and faculty using computers from a control room. The photos are uploaded on the internet. For now, the asteroid is numbered, but the students will get the chance to name it. "I think it shows what astronomy really is and how cool it can be," said student Connor Liepold.

Lambrini Lukidis

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